Common land, in general terms, is land owned by one person over which another person is entitled to exercise ‘rights of common’ such as grazing. Rights of common have their origin in local custom and are exercisable ‘in common’ with others.
Common land is generally privately owned, but, by virtue of its status as common land, is subject to various restrictions. We are able to advise and assist on the implications of land being common land whether you are the existing landowner or are considering selling or acquiring property which is affected by common land.
Land given town or village green status is protected by longstanding legislation which restricts the landowner’s ability to use or develop that land. Many people would imagine this type of land to be situated in the middle of a picturesque town or sleepy village filled with cricketers on a hot summer day, but the reality can be very different and landowners must be vigilant as to the activities on their land.
We can advise and assist landowners and developers on the potential need to protect land from acquiring town or village green status and the most appropriate way to do this given the circumstances. Preventing a claim is always preferable to defending one, but it is important to take the correct course of action so as not to instigate an unwanted claim. We can assist with a procedure known as a ‘Section 15A Notice’ but we will also assess whether this is the most appropriate method of protecting the land in question.
For more information please contact Hannah Taylor, a member of mfg’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Division.